Thursday, April 21, 2011

Give a Little

When I was little, I loved to organize bookshelves. I liked how a mish-mash of disorganized books in one confined area could be rearranged to look tidy. When it came to my bedroom, however, I was often overwhelmed. No matter how many times my mom told me to clean my room, I just couldn't find the perfect system to keep it that way. Clothes would end up on my closet floor, books under my bed and a variety of items stuffed into my dresser drawers. The bottom-line was--I just had too much stuff and nowhere to put it.

Now that I have my own home with hundreds of places to stash things, I find that I really want fewer things. I relish the open spaces in my house. I love having plenty of space for Griffin to drive his trucks when he's playing and for me to spread out on the floor when I'm doing a project. Like anyone, though, it seems we have a constant stream of items entering our home. It's a balancing act. And, right now, our home feels a little off balance.

I'm working my way through our house one small space at a time. And, I mean small. One day last week, I cleaned out three drawers. Yup. That's all. I had other things to do and didn't want to take on a whole room. I think that's the key to getting and staying organized--keep it small. Maybe you have time to organize your shoes, but not the whole closet. Maybe you have time to organize your pots and pans, but not the whole kitchen. Just find one small area and tackle it. By being prepared, your organization will just take a few minutes.

One of the most important things to have when you're cleaning out is a "give box." Just because you don't wear that pair of yellow tennis shoes doesn't mean someone else wouldn't love them. There are a few different ways to handle your giveaway items. You could keep a large box in the basement, attic or closet and deliver it to Goodwill or Salvation Army when it's full. You could use a box or bag for each area you organize and drop it off while you're out running errands. Or, you could save your used items and request a truck to pick them up--look into the organizations in your area that provide this service.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Don't put trash into your "give" box--make sure it's something useful.
If you haven't worn or used it in a year, give it!
Don't worry if your items are out of style.
If the item has lots of parts, put them together in a bag.
If the item belongs to someone else in your home, you might want to ask them first...

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